Taking Bets on Rummy’s Survival?

“Bush has expressed his undying support for embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Can Rummy’s resignation be far behind? With six retired generals, four Army and two Marines, calling for his ouster, Salon’s revelation that Rummy was closely involved in the harsh treatment of a Guantánamo detainee reaching the traditional media, can Bush and Rummy hold out?

…And as long as we’re taking bets on how long Rummy might be along, why don’t we throw into the mix the possibility that Lieberman will take this opportunity to vacate a potentially embarrassing and definitely difficult primary race to take the job. Just some things to ruminate on on a Friday night.” — McJoan (Daily Kos)

Serotonin and Depression:

A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature: “In 1998, at the dawn of consumer advertising of SSRIs, Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience Elliot Valenstein summarized the scientific data by concluding, “What physicians and the public are reading about mental illness is by no means a neutral reflection of all the information that is available” [50]. The current state of affairs has only confirmed the veracity of this conclusion. The incongruence between the scientific literature and the claims made in FDA-regulated SSRI advertisements is remarkable, and possibly unparalleled.” (PLoS Medicine)

The Latest Mania: Selling Bipolar Disorder

Disease Mongering: “This advert markets bipolar disorder. The advert can be read as a genuine attempt to alert people who may be suffering from one of the most debilitating and serious psychiatric diseases—manic-depressive illness. Alternatively, the advert can be read as an example of what has been termed disease mongering [1]. Whichever it is, it will reach beyond those suffering from a mood disorder to others who will as a consequence be more likely to see aspects of their personal experiences in a new way that will lead to medical consultations and in a way that will shape the outcome of those consultations. Adverts that encourage “mood watching” risk transforming variations from an emotional even keel into potential indicators of latent or actual bipolar disorder. This advert appeared in 2002 shortly after Lilly’s antipsychotic olanzapine had received a license for treating mania. The company was also running trials aimed at establishing olanzapine as a “mood stabilizer,” one of which was recently published” (PLoS Medicine)

Repentance Update: Ending the War vs. Defending Our Anti-War Purity

Arianna Huffington says we face a challenge in embracing former rightwing ideologues as they change their positions on issues like Iraq. She mentions Newt Gingrich and Francis Fukuyama to start. This was a lesson learned by those of us in the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War which should not have to be learned all over again. Do we want to stop the war? I agree we should embrace penitant reformed jingoists.

Huffington (who is no stranger herself to the derision provoked by changing one’s stripes; one might argue that there is no zeal like that of the converted) parses the quandary about doing so as being one between pragmatism and “anti-war purity,” which I think gives perhaps abit too much credit to those who do not accept the ‘converts’, making them sound a little tooo high-minded. What she describes as “launching a full-scale, dig-up-all-the-old-dirt attack on those who publicly change their position on the war” is often based not on ideological purity but more primal feelings such as contemtp, ragefulness, spite, and narcissism.

I know I have often been guilty of that holier-than-thou attitude, and I continue to stand by my public position about the impossibility of meaningful dialogue with most of the wingnuts on the right (which I think is a reasonable position to take in the face of their unreasonableness). But Huffington’s post reminded me that our work in the Vietnam-era antiwar movement was inherently wedded to work on ourselves, on empathy and compassion and overcoming our own hatreds. It was much more organically embedded in a counterculture and a social justice, as well as peace, movement. It makes me second-guess even my own calls, as we ramp up to an attack on Iran, for the growth of a massive peace movement, makes me wonder if it would fail if not rooted in a broader social change movement.